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Charleston’s New Space in Lewes

This autumn, Charleston brings two major exhibitions to central Lewes for the first time, as it takes its first steps towards a permanent cultural centre in the heart of the town that will complement its rural home at Firle.



Bring No Clothes: Bloomsbury and Fashion

“It is exciting to launch Charleston’s new building in central Lewes with two very different exhibitions. In ‘Bring No Clothes: Bloomsbury and Fashion’, Charlie Porter takes a fresh angle that is bringing us new stories on the extraordinary lives of the Bloomsbury group members, showing again the continued relevance of their ideas to contemporary culture.” 

Nathaniel Hepburn, Director at Charleston

Dior Fashion Reconstruction outside Charleston
Dior Men Summer 2023 group shot in front of Charleston reconstruction; photograph: © Brett Lloyd (full collection and set not shown in exhibition)

Bring No Clothes: Bloomsbury and Fashion is the first major exhibition to explore the fashion of the Bloomsbury group, and how the 20th century cultural collective still impacts global style over 100 years on. Curated by writer Charlie Porter, the exhibition spotlights the relationship that radical figures such as Virginia Woolf, Duncan Grant and Vanessa Bell had with clothing, while celebrating 21st century fashion designers who have found inspiration in Bloomsbury art and life.

The exhibition will also highlight a new generation of designers, such as LVMH Prize winner S.S. Daley, who takes inspiration from the characters created by E.M. Forster; Jawara Alleyne, who will install a new work modelled on Vanessa Bell’s use of safety pins in her dressing; and Ella Boucht, who uses tailoring to reimagine gender.

Jonathan Baldock: through the joy of the senses

“Jonathan Baldock’s bold installation brings his colourful, sensory world to our spaces, and is indicative of the scale of contemporary exhibition the new building will enable for Charleston.” 

Nathaniel Hepburn, Director at Charleston

Jonathan Baldock, 'Mother Flower' Sculpture
Jonathan Baldock, ‘Mother Flower’, 2022 © Jonathan Baldock. Courtesy the artist and Stephen Friedman Gallery, London; Photograph: Mark Blower

Charleston’s second exhibition in Lewes: Jonathan Baldock: through the joy of the senses, will be the first UK survey show of leading contemporary artist Jonathan Baldock, coinciding with his exhibition at Yorkshire Sculpture Park. Baldock works with a variety of materials such as fabric, paint and ceramics to create large-scale sculptural installations that often explore our relationship to the body and the space it inhabits. The show will bring together a range of these installation pieces in a colourful, rich and immersive exhibition.

A bit more about Charleston…

The modernist home and studio of the painters Vanessa Bell and Duncan Grant, Charleston was a gathering point for some of the 20th century’s most radical artists, writers and thinkers known collectively as the Bloomsbury group. Today, Charleston presents a dynamic year-round programme of exhibitions, events and festivals, encouraging visitors to believe in the power of art, in all its forms, to provoke new ways of thinking and living.

Both exhibitions run for over three months from 13th September 2023 until 7th January 2024, along with a whole host of exciting events, including talks, tours and workshops. See all info via Charleston’s website.